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Beyond his crimson isles of gold;
I never can forget.
Upon our happy day,
We homeward bent our way!-
Her silver crescent set,
Forbid me to forget.
And when, in Summer's loveliest robe,
The joyful day-star brought That morn on which our fates were joined,
The happy vale we sought:
Before the sun had set,
Yet I can ne'er forget.
Which she was wont to sing,
To fancy still would cling: And like a voice of other times,
Whene'er the sun should set, Would come upon the morning gale,
And bid me not forget.
“WE ALL DO FADE AS A LEAF."
Isaiah Ixiv. 6.
The season of autumn is both pleasing and useful to the reflecting mind, nor is it by any means devoid of beauty. The diversity of tints that presents itself in a walk at this time of the year, is very interesting: and although we feel some regret at the departure of summer, we remember, with pleasing anticipation, that nature is but disrobing herself, to be arrayed afresh in all the beauty and vigour of another spring.
Leaves have, from time immemorial, been compared to the race of men, by both sacred and profane writers. Homer has made the comparison; which is thus translated by Pope:
“Like leaves on trees the race of man is found, Now green in youth, now withering on the ground; Another race the following spring supplies, They fall successive, and successive rise. So generations on their course decay, So flourish these, when those are passed away.”
Leaves resemble man in their number, their beauty, their diversity, and frailty.
In their number. How numerous are leaves ! they are countless: so likewise are men; their numbers have been guessed at, but never accurately ascertained. How crowded are the large cities of the world with inhabitants! What swarms of human beings, like leaves upon the trees moved by the wind, have their feelings and passions in continual agitation, excited by the various events which occur by day, that prevents them from being composed by night.
How beautiful is a leaf, even of the meanest shrub! It is full of arteries and veins, to receive the small dew that descends at night; and it shades the fruit by day from the intense rays
of the sun.
So the human frame is likewise beautiful. A smiling, healthy, and blooming countenance, gives us pleasure to look upon, it is the index of a serene and happy mind, as the fine shining hue of the leaf tells us the tree is growing and flourishing
How diversified are leaves! Even in our own country every sort of tree has a different leaf. Such are the families of men, the nations of the earth. Every country has something characteristically different from another. Some leaves open very early in the spring, like the woodbine and sweetbrier; while others, like the walnut and mulberry, linger till the season is more advanced : so, many nations have arisen to civilization and prosperity, while others have but slowly and late put forth their energies and strength.
But it is more especially in the frailty of leaves that we behold their comparison to ourselves. Some are untimely blown off, even in the spring, by a storm: so, likewise, how
of the young
depart from this life; some disease causes them suddenly to droop and die; a fever, or a fit, or, although slower, yet as sure, a consumption causes them to fade and waste away. Some expire in all the beauty and strength of manhood, while others gradually lose all their animation and sprightliness, and sink into the grave.
“We all do fade as a leaf,” says the prophet. How universal is this fading. It is true some trees are green all the year, yet they fade also, although not noticed by us when the change takes place. Other leaves, although faded, yet hang upon trees all the winter, until pushed off by the new ones; and how lamentable is the comparison, that some children have been the means, through ill conduct, of shortening the days of their parents, and, as it were, pushing them out of the world. Some leaves are extremely beautiful when fading, and may be compared to the aged Christian, about whose dying bed we love to linger, to admire his calm composure, and that animation of countenance which sometimes characterises his last moments.
The trees are renewed with leaves in the spring, the human body will be renewed, changed, and made immortal, at the last day. How important, then, my young friends, is it to know that we are ripening for that state where the spring never recedes, and the leaves never fade. Every leaf that fades, or that flutters down, should impress us with the thought of the day of resurrection.
As fades the leaf in Autumn's tree,
So creatures all decay;
And wear and waste away.
No other hope I find,
To fix my anxious mind.
(FROM "THE MEMOIRS OF AN ONLY son.”)
The Sacred Volume exhibits man under the figure of a flower—All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof as the flower of the field. We have formerly admired the aptness of this figure: but, now, it strikes us in a new and affecting point of view. The flowers of the field present us with a fascinating spectacle; they exhilarate the spirits, and charm the eyes, of every beholder. These lovely parts of the creation excite our wonder by the beauty of their form, the delicacy of their texture, the brilliancy of their colours, and the fragrance of their scent: they serve, at once, to enrich our grounds, to adorn our houses, and to regale our senses:—but, after all the attention we can bestow upon them, their frailty is proportionate to their loveliness. And such are those